Saturday, May 12, 2007

How I Decide What Level to Write at

When writing about complicated subjects, it's difficult to maintain a balance between giving enough depth to make the topic interesting, and glossing over some details to make the article easy to read. Some advice on the subject boils down to targeting your writing to the lowest common denominator - dumbing it down, if you will, but in a good way. Yet I don't think this is the right approach for a blog with a technical focus. I'm not writing this blog for everyone; I'm writing it because I think reasonably intelligent people will enjoy reading it.

So what I actually do is that when I write a sentence or paragraph, I ask myself whether it would make sense to an overwise intelligent reader at 2:00 in the morning, who is tired and not thinking clearly, but who likes to stay up sometimes and read blogs. I figure if that person can at least make sense of it, then the cognitive effort required to read the words is low enough for anyone else to cruise smoothly over the page. It is not hard for me to put myself in that person's shoes, since I only write blog entries at 2:00 in the morning, when I am tired and not thinking clearly.
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